By Mollee Ryan, Freshman Music Therapy major, Opinion editor
“Believe in Something, Even if it Means Sacrificing Everything.”
The slogan debuted as a Nike partnership with former NFL football star Colin Kaepernick in September 2018, a whole two years after he started his bold protest during the national anthem before football games. Instead, he and others would kneel, for they felt it unnecessary to stand for the flag.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told media in an exclusive end game interview.
Many have stood behind Kaepernick in his time of protest, even other athletes and celebrities. But there still remains a majority of those who don’t.
On Feb. 11, Prime Time Sports located in Colorado Springs, Colorado announced they would be closing their doors after more than 20 years of business. Owner Stephen Martin made the announcement shortly after the store stopped selling Nike gear, boycotting the protest. Unfortunately though, without Nike gear, the small shop would fail to stay in business. Not only did Martin lose profit for refusing to sell the popular brand, but because of his bold and poignant remarks as well.
“Being a sports store without Nike is like being a gas station without gas.” Martin told the Washington Post.
This isn’t the first time Martin has disapproved of player protests. Three years ago, he canceled an autograph signing with Broncos running back Brandon Marshall after Marshall involved himself in the Kaepernick movement. Around the same time, Martin turned to Facebook, asking friends and family to send him pictures of active members in the military. After receiving nearly 4,000 pictures, he plastered them from ceiling-to-floor on the front window of his store.
After Nike announced their partnership with Kaepernick, Martin discounted everything of the brand to half price and vowed to never order from the company again.
This situation totally contradicts everything that Nike and Colin Kaepernick have tried to implant in society. Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem to take a stand against racism, and he is called an American hero; Martin refuses to sell Nike gear because he chooses to take stand in what he believes to be disrespect towards veterans and troops and receives constant backlash and a drop in funds from his store, so much so it forces it to close.
Stephen Martin is doing exactly what the popular slogan says, “Believe in Something, Even if it Means Sacrificing Everything.” But just because his opinion is not as popular as the latter, he is considered wrong for taking a stand in what he believes is correct. Who are we to judge what is right and wrong, moral and immoral? Both men stood up for something that they consider important to them, so why should they be treated any differently? Martin didn’t propose anything racist or offensive. Actually, he acknowledged social injustice and police brutality.
“There is social injustice in the criminal system. Oh my God, Trayvon [Martin], Rodney King. These things are documented and filmed,” Martin told the Washington Post.
Martin simply took a stand for his own political beliefs and sacrificed something he enjoyed spending his time on and worked very hard for, his own store. He shouldn’t be condemned for doing so, even if what he believes goes against a major company.